Tiny Projectors To Kill LCDs?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Chris Riegel, CEO of STRATACACHE believes that the new 3M Pico pocket-sized projectors will have a profound affect on the Digital Signage Market. He told InfoComm recently “Picos will decimate the traditional LCD digital signage in the next few years. Picos offer much less cost, need less power, and have a longer lifespan than LCDs in most environments,” he says.

3M's MPro110 pico projector

3M's MPro110 pico projector

3M’s MPro110 pico projector shown here for example can cost as little as USD 359

Matthew S. Brennesholtz of Insight Media, a research firm that focuses on emerging display technologies (and also author of the 2009 Insight Media Pico Projector Report) notes in the article “that the current generation of pico projectors has better performance and price than previous picos”

For the past two years STRATACACHE has even been working on developing pico optical engines with Texas Instruments (TI manufactures the DLP pico chip set, the competing technology to 3M’s LCoS chip set).

Riegel believes that Pico projectors can be used in both traditional and non-traditional digital signage. In the article he points out that they can save space in more traditional ‘point of presence’ messaging like an 8.5″ by 11″ advert at a bank teller window or even the day’s specials projected into a restaurant tabletop.

Because the LEDs used in these tiny projectors are less temperature sensitive than bulb-based projectors, pico projectors can be installed in a grocery store’s beer cooler for rear projection onto the cooler door – errr how cool would that be (forgive the pun) ?

STRATACACHE have built a pico optical engine into their media player and added a 3G wireless connection for content updates. This means that literally they can put a pico anywhere as long as there is a power outlet.

Brennesholtz also pointed our that others also are innovating around the technology “Now, there is a pico projector with Windows CE built into it that will accept an external keyboard and mouse.”

Interesting times.

2 Responses to “Tiny Projectors To Kill LCDs?”

  1. geof Jones Says:

    Totally Agree

    We have been promoting PICO as the way forward for POS & DS for many months.

    During our testing of a range of PICO projectors – some are better than others, we have sourced our own range of PICO projectors with 17 Ansi lumens – which on a Vueinti Ultra XC projection film http://www.vueinti.com – works great in standard office and retail environments.

    Also at night on retail windows – they are excellent as the low lumes is irrelevent

    this will be big market if used with projection films like vueinti’s ultra high contrast films – as this compensates for the projectors low light power.

    With the vueinti holographic (transparent) film – this can even give a headup display when required) – now that would be cool at the bank.

    hope to see and show some cool applications soon.

  2. Bryan Crotaz Says:

    In my experiments with the PICO launched at ISE, I found it was nowhere near bright enough in retail, even with a 10″ screen. We tried various films and found that only the high gain films with very narrow viewing angle were visible at all in our office lighting (nowhere near as bright as retail spotlights).

    However the long “bulb life” and the size are fantastic for retail and I look forward to the brighter LEDs being incorporated over the next year or so. I’m not sure it’ll ever replace large format screens due to the throw distance involved, but for small on-shelf displays it could be a boon.

Leave a Reply